Atlanta Hawks Fall To Miami Heat 116-93

The Atlanta Hawks traveled to Miami Wednesday to take on the Heat. Did they defeat their Southeast Division rival?

How does a team perform coming off of four-overtime thriller that had everyone involved questioning the meaning of existence? The Atlanta Hawks answered that on Wednesday. As you’d expect, they came out of the gates a bit sluggish. Let’s give them a pass, playing 20 extra minutes of basketball takes a toll on both the body and the mind.

After one quarter Miami held a 29-22 lead. The Hawks shot 47.4 percent in the quarter, but went 0-for-5 from three-point range. The Heat, on the other hand, made three three-pointers to build a seven point lead. Their made three-pointers would continue to increase.

The Heat took a 62-47 into half-time, thanks in large part to their hot outside shooting. Miami shot 8-for-17 from three-point range in the half and got 12 points each from Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters. James Johnson led all scorers in the first half with 13 points.

The second half was never competitive. The Heat dominated the entire way. Miami would end up winning 116-93. It was the ninth consecutive win for the Heat, as they’ve gone from bottom feeders to potentially getting themselves back into the playoff picture. There’s still a long way for them to climb, but they have clearly made progress.

Their shooting cooled off in the second half, but they still put up respectable numbers. Miami shot 48.4 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three-point range. As our Xavier Cooper predicted in his preview of this game, Goran Dragic was outstanding.

Dragic led all scorers with 27 points on 8-for-13 shooting and 4-for-5 from three-point range. He also had five assists and five rebounds. The Eastern Conference’s hottest player also had a nice showing. Dion Waiters added 20 points for Miami on 9-for-15 shooting and 2-for-4 from outside. Waiters Island is back up and running!

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the media after the game how impressed he was with Miami’s play.

“A lot of credit to Miami. They’re playing really, really good basketball,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “You can see why they’ve won nine games in a row now. Both ends of the court, their activity, their aggressiveness, just really impressed with their players, their coaching staff, everything they’re doing.”

Atlanta looked sluggish throughout the entire game. It’s no surprise, even with the days off between Sunday’s four overtime epic and Wednesday. Overall they shot 39.5 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from three-point distance. Not great, Bob.

Mike Budenholzer wisely limited his starting five’s minutes once it was clear there would be no comeback. No starter played more than 26 minutes. Despite the drubbing, there were a few bright spots.

Kent Bazemore continued to build on his January performance. He finished the game with 14 points, on 6-for-11 shooting. One positive that usually comes from a blowout is that it gave the Hawks an opportunity to play their young players.

DeAndre’ Bembry benefited the most, he played 22 minutes. Bembry scored four points, grabbed three rebounds, and recorded three assists. I remain impressed with Bembry’s court vision. He’s got point-forward written all over him.

Taurean Prince played six minutes before getting ejected for a hard foul on Hassan Whiteside. Prince scored three points and grabbed two rebounds in his brief cameo. James Johnson was not pleased with Prince’s hard foul.

Lamar Patterson also made his return to game action. Patterson spent most of 2015-16 with Atlanta before being waived during the summer. The Hawks signed him to a 10-day contract last week. In his return, Patterson scored four points and grabbed four rebounds in 12 minutes.

The loss has immediate consequences for the Hawks. They have dropped to 5th place in the Eastern Conference, a half game behind the surging Washington Wizards. The see-saw nature of their season continues. The Hawks either win close or get blown out. Lately there’s been no in between.

As much as they might need it, Atlanta has no time to rest. Thursday night they’ll travel to Houston to battle James Harden and the Rockets. They will have to play their best game to beat Houston. It won’t be easy.

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